Apple unveiled the new iOS 7 software update with a fresh user interface and several major as well as subtle changes across the system.
Craig Federighi, senior vice president of Software Engineering, Apple, said during the keynote, â€œinstalling the iOS 7 on your phone is like getting a new phone, but one you already know how to use.â€
New Apple iOS 7 software update is expected to be available as free download by Fall (late September) this year. For now, the preview build has been seeded to the developers along with the Software Development Kit. We take a quick look at the significant features in the new Apple iOS 7 software update.
First visible change in the feature set is the Notifications Center which is now made available even at the Lockscreen. Something Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has been offering since a year. The usual swipe down gesture reveals the summary of the notifications along with a new tab called Today covers date, day and calendar entries with weather details. Whereas the missed column shows the unread list of notifications. Best part is that the Notifications Center can be accessed from any screen at any time, unless youâ€™re watching a movie, may be.
The Control Center is a single destination panel that provides access to several quick alterable settings through shortcuts. For instance, if you need to access different options such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Airplane mode or rotation lock, then you donâ€™t have to keep looking for it. Control Center needs to be slided up and then gain access even to the brightness and volume controls.
All the controls offered are directly interactive – that means you donâ€™t have to tap on each option and then make changes like switching on or off and adjusting the level using sliders. If Music app is running, then the quick playback controls such as Pause/Play, Rewind, Forward and even seek bar is available along with the track details. Single swipe to direct control over several frequently used settings makes Control Center a really important feature in the iOS 7 software update.
Apple has also, added the new AirDrop feature that allows sharing files, documents, and even contacts with your friends using the Apple iCloud service.
Basically the, AirDrop shows if the userâ€™s contacts are closeby. And then, the user can select open the Control Center, select the AirDrop icon and then share the relevant file. The recipient gets the incoming file notification and the user gets the choice to accept or decline receiving that file.
AirDrop is a cool way to share data between users however, there is no clarity as of now on whether it uses Bluetooth only or WiFi as well as Data Network to share information. AirDrop is available on iPhone 5, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini, and iPod touch (5th generation) and requires an iCloud account.
The new iOS 7 brings a change in multi-tasking user interface and takes the user to a different experience zone. However the Windows Phone 8 platform users will be easily able to recognize the user experience.
Nevertheless, pressing Home button twice shows the multi-tasking experience that shows snapshot previews of the apps running on the device. The user can simply tap on the app preview and swipe it upwards to close the running app. Apple has also included scheduled updates which is basically fetching the updates/new data whenever the phone is connected over the WiFi network. We are not sure if all third party apps will have this by default but it does sound like a nice data cost saving function.
While the camera gets clicking images in different shapes, now the Photos get the same treatment given to iPhoto on Mac OS X. The Photos app can now group the photos based on meta data embedded on them. Thereby the Photos brings Collections, Moments and Years – basically different name of the groups in which the photos are automatically sorted. Of course, it requires the user to enable geo-tagging on the photos to enable the location details.
Apple has refined the Safari mobile from ground up and added slew of new buttons along with the looks. There is a new tab view to scroll between the open tabs. With smart search field, the new Safari browser looks neat and minimalistic.
The browser also collates the number of links shared by the Twitter users along-side the Bookmarks and Reading list. The latter basically is the reader style mode to quickly read the articles in more readable manner.
Siriâ€™s user interface also gets new facelift along with integration for Twitter, Wikipedia and Bing search – Surprising, no Google search. It can also be used for returning the calls, playback the voicemails and more such fun activities through voice commands. Read the information from Wikipedia and updates from Twitter in Siri and you donâ€™t have to leave for other app.
Find My iPhone app has been updated with a new feature called Activation Lock to safe-guard the userâ€™s data. Also this bars the thieves for misusing the iPhone after stealing it. For starters, turning off Find My iPhone requires the user to sign-in with Apple ID credentials.
Apart from these features, the App Store gets a nice face lift, new Radio app is available only in the US and several other improvements under the hood. As of now, the iOS 7 preview build is available for download only for the developers. A lot of design elements and user experience appears very similar to the Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system.
It is difficult to judge whether the new update makes the phone faster and robust. However, one must not forget that it drops support for the first generation iPad and fourth generation iPod touch.